The Political and Corporate Interest in MOOCs

The biggest proponents of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are not professors, but politicians and business leaders. These cheerleaders for MOOCs present university and college faculty members as conservative detractors of their forward-looking plans.

The agendas of the political and corporate interests who are backing MOOCs need to be examined closely. Concerned citizens do not have to look hard to find ample evidence of the agendas driving MOOC development, which is part of a broader drive to advance for-profit education.

A new article by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and educational corporate leader Randy Best sets forth their political-corporate agenda. Their vision of education would be one of corporate training for future corporate workers. This article is part of a much broader political-corporate movement for “disruptive education” that envisions destroying research integrity, academic excellence, faculty autonomy, and curricular innovation through a corporate model of education.

For-profit universities, for-profit educational publishers, and for-profit MOOC providers have aligned in an assault on private and state universities in the United States. They claim that they will cut tuition rates, save students money, and streamline time-to-degrees (all without affecting academic standards).

Don’t believe it.

Note that many corporate leaders in this movement (such as Randy Best) present themselves as “philanthropists,” but actually still own or have investments in educational corporations that would profit from the initiatives they promote.

Politicians and their corporate allies are pushing their own agenda in a bid to transform all of higher education into a for-profit industry.

Parents of today’s middle school and high school students should be very concerned about these trends. Your sons and daughters may end up being degree-purchasing consumers instead of college students.

Inside Higher Ed publishes Jeb Bush and Randy Best’s essay.


This entry was posted in Digital Humanities, Education Policy, Globalization, Humanities Education, Information Management, Undergraduate Work in History. Bookmark the permalink.

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